Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s remarks at a news conference following the meeting of the foreign ministers of Russia, India and China (RIC), New Delhi, December 11, 2017

2401-11-12-2017

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Ladies and gentlemen,

I share the feeling of gratitude expressed by other participants with regard to Foreign Minister Swaraj and the Government of India for organising this 15th meeting of the RIC foreign ministers.

The meeting confirmed the fact that this format is useful and improves our ability to see the steps which can help us form an opinion about the modern world. Russia, India and China share this vision. We want to see the world polycentric (this is an objective trend) and based on international law and respect for all the principles of the UN Charter.

We had a friendly, candid and trust-based exchange of views. We see eye to eye on most of the issues that we discussed. The similarity of our approaches and interests is reflected in a detailed and very specific joint statement, which will be circulated following our meeting today.

We are concerned by current developments, such as erosion of international law and increased use of force in international affairs. Given these circumstances, our joint work becomes particularly significant. We agreed to continue and improve the coordination of our steps within the UN, G20, the SCO, and BRICS, as well as at various platforms in the Asia-Pacific region (APR), especially as part of the East Asian summits.

We have a shared position on the need to step up efforts aimed at forming a multilateral, open-ended and inclusive architecture of security and cooperation in the APR.

By the way, we agreed, as my colleagues have already mentioned, to hold tripartite consultations on APR issues on a regular basis. The first round of consultations took place in China, and our Indian friends invited us for the second round. We gladly accepted their invitation.

We have specifically emphasised the need to strengthen multilateralism in international affairs and to seek collective solutions. In the adopted Statement we strongly reject unilateral measures of economic pressure, such as sanctions, which, as we underline, run contrary to the norms and principles of international law, and undermine the authority of the UN Security Council.

We advocated the continued reform of the international monetary system. This topic is being promoted both in the RIC format and in the BRICS format, in conjunction with like-minded people in G20. We stand for ensuring the open-ended, non-discriminatory nature of the international trading system. In this context, we discussed in detail the prospects for harmonising various integration processes in Eurasia. In this regard, I note that India and China have started talks with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) on promoting cooperation and trade liberalisation. I am confident that these talks will be beneficial for everyone.

We noted the importance of expanding cooperation based on our projects designed to implement the transport and transit potential of the three countries. We see this as another contribution to forming the Great Eurasian partnership, as was discussed during the summits, with the participation of our leaders.

We focused particularly on fighting terrorism. We underscored the uncompromising nature of the war on terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including the spread of terrorist and extremist ideologies. We stressed the importance of the unique experience of anti-terrorist cooperation, gained, in particular, by the SCO, which adopted a one-of-a-kind Convention on Countering Extremism this year. Russia, India and China are also willing to share with other partners their experience in countering the financing of terrorism  and in fighting foreign terrorists and militants. The database on foreign terrorists and militants created in Russia is a convenient form of cooperation, in which our Chinese and Indian partners are already participating.

We also stressed the need to step up efforts to curb the spread of WMD. Our partners supported our thesis on the importance of an early start to the work on the Convention on Combating Chemical and Biological Terrorism.

We share approaches to security issues when using information and communication technology, including the adoption of universal rules for responsible behaviour of states in the information space, under the auspices of the UN. This initiative was spearheaded by SCO members as well.

We also unanimously oppose the deployment of weapons in outer space and will coordinate our actions in this sphere of ​​international cooperation.

With regard to regional matters, we shared views on the situation on the Korean Peninsula, which is extremely tense. We consider it unacceptable to ratchet up military tension and confrontation, which can slip into hostilities amid current propaganda efforts. We underlined the lack of an alternative to resolving this problem solely by political and diplomatic means. As you are aware, there is a Russian-Chinese road map to this effect.

We compared notes regarding the situation in Afghanistan, Iraq, Yemen and Libya.

With regard to the Syrian settlement, we spoke in favour of an early start to the national settlement process, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 2254. In this sense, we indicated that the successful promotion of the Astana process and the initiative on convening the Syrian National Dialogue Congress are conducive to achieving this goal.

We underscored the need for strict and full compliance with UN Security Council Resolution 2202, which unanimously approved the Minsk Agreements on resolving the internal Ukraine crisis.

We reviewed the implementation of the ideas that were discussed during our previous meeting in Moscow in April 2016 and noted that concrete progress has been made in creating new formats for our interaction since then. In particular, we noted the successful first meeting of young diplomats from Russia, India and China, which was held in China this year. Next year, it will be held in India, and then the young diplomats will meet again in Russia in 2019.

In closing, we stressed the importance of the political think tanks focusing on matters discussed at the state-to-state and intergovernmental level in the RIC format. In this regard, I would like to note that the 15th trilateral academic conference was held in India this year, and the 16th conference will be held in Russia in 2018. This has major intellectual potential which will help us deepen our strategic partnership.

I held bilateral meetings with Minister of External Affairs of India Sushma Swaraj and China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi. We reviewed the implementation of the agreements reached at this year's Russian-Indian and Russian-Chinese summits, and outlined steps to prepare future contacts for our leaders as well as contacts at other levels.

Once again, I express my gratitude to Ms Swaraj and all our Indian friends.

 

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